The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2012-04-15

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Organ!zed: New uses for old things, vintage suitcases

I got three old leather suitcases ages ago, before I started going to yard sales on purpose.  They have moved around my house a lot but where they are now really works for me.  I stacked two of the on my very small nightstand.

The bottom one with things I don't need every day, the top one with stuff I use all the time.  The top one is stuffed to busting but when closed it looks nice and neat and very, very retro-cool.


Vintage image of the day: Suburbia , 4/21/12

This is one of my favorite images of all time.  To me it reads Suburbs, Anywhere USA,  and all kinds of happy.

It was the cover image of House & Garden February, 1955

There is an article called 'Living with children', which explains the cover image.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Vintage image of the day: The indignity of hot dogs, 4/20/12

Hot dogs suffer a lot of indignity in vintage recipes.  Take a look at some of these and you'll agree that any self-respecting Frank would much prefer a plain bun, hold the kitchen sink.

Hot dogs standing guard over cabbage.

White bread-bacon wrapped dogs...

Margarine meringue cheddar-topped franks...

More hot dog soldiers around a pool of veggies swimming in cream of mushroom soup.

Hot dogs holding in a load of coleslaw 

Hot dogs covered in cheese, swimming in creamed corn.

I need some Alka-Seltzer....


Thursday, April 19, 2012

A lived-in sort of cool...

Found a old piston-fill fountain pen on Etsy a few weeks ago and it just arrived from France.  I think it's an old Italian pen meant for school children.  It wasn't expensive but it's got a used, lived-in sort of vibe that makes me very happy.  

It writes beautifully, has a sort of cool new pens don't have, and fits in a Filofax pen loop. You can't ask for more then that in this complicated world...


What's at my bedside? 4/19/12

  1. Same jar of vintage buttons
  2. Same atomic aqua container with Ventura's Wet Noses Little Stars Cheddar Organic Dog Training Treats
  3. Same Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
  4. This time there's some reading material: A Game of Thrones, Book 1...  Catching Fire (The Second Book  the Hunger Games) ... Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms ... and The Enchanted Map Oracle Cards
  5. Wet n' Wild Lip Balm in Strawberry
  6. And it goes without saying,  Filofax Malden A5 always mugging for a camera.


Vintage Image of the day: Imperial car! 4/19/12

The ad called this "The Finest Car America Has Yet Produced".  Magazines were large format in February 1955 so I can't get the entire House Beautiful in my scanner. 

This is image from the ad.



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Whitelines Nibs...

I recently won a giveaway from The European Paper Company’s blog for a Whitelines Side Spiral bound A5 Notebook  (White / Squared).  I was doing the paper happy dance because Whitelines is a paper I've wanted to try for a few months.

I'm always out for a new paper to punch holes in and stick in my A5 Filofax.  My current punchable paper is the Classic Clairefontaine Top Staplebound Notepad - 6 x 8.25, Graph Paper Notebook.

It's 90 grams,  very white, very smooth, as wide but shorter then  Filofax brand pages (the pink one).  It takes ink very well and pencil okay.

There are different versions of Whitelines pads, the one I got was this one (in white):

Whitelines Side Spiralbound A5 Notebook (5.8 x 8.25)

From Whitelines most popular series (Wires), the Whitelines Side Spiralbound A5 Notebook is designed to be simple, effective, and durable with matte coated front and back covers. The Wire-O style binding is snag-free and is perfect for the office or on-the-go. The beauty of Whitelines patented paper is the simple concept that dark lines distract and white lines don't! Grab the Whitelines Wire A5 Notebook, head outside, and you'll notice the slightly grey tinted paper also dramatically reduces glare when jotting down your thoughts. Take it back inside, make a photocopy or scan, and you'll notice only your words and drawings show - no lines!
Available in black or white covers, you can also choose either lined or graph paper to keep your writings and sketches organized. With 70 sheets of 80 gsm paper, the Whitelines Side Spiralbound A5 Notebook is a perfect addition to your creative collection of notebooks, pens, and more!
  • Matte Laminated Soft Covers
  • Wire-O Binding
  • 70 sheets, micro-perforated
  • 80 gsm (20 lb)
  • Carbon Neutral Paper
  • Available in Black or White Covers; Ruled or Graph Paper
Whitelines paper is a soft gray with bright white lines, and has more tooth then Clairefontaine paper.

It takes ink almost as well as Clairefontaine and pencil much better.  The little boxes were colored in and shaded with pencil.  The blue ink is fountain pen.  There was no problems on the back with my Lamy fountain pen and Diamine ink.

The grey has a muting effect on colored inks but in a soft, pleasing way.  The colors are not as vibrant but they don't read muddy; just easier on the eyes.    The above picture shows a variety of colors and pens.  The only ones that came through the back were the one's that always come through the back...

The Rotring 1.o which is like a Sharpie and the Pilot Parallel with a 1.5 nib.  The ink's pretty wet on that one.

Comparing colors...

Clairefontaine on the left is the brightest white, Whitelines is in the middle and the Filofax graph inserts on the right read creamier.  

The side bound spiral notebook is micro-perforated (love) and when the sheets come out they are as long as Filofax paper and a bit narrower.

I like using this paper.  It doesn't have the smooth surface of Clairefontaine paper but that works in it's favor.  It takes pencil very well and after you write the squares sort of fade into the background, must be some sort of optical function of the grey and white combination.  

It takes a large variety of inks well and wet or solvent-types inks about as well as similar weight papers.  It blows Filofax paper out of the water if that's important to you...  And even though I use a lot of color and the grey has a muting effect, I liked that too.  

On my Paper Nib Scale, I'm giving Whitelines Paper 85 Nibs out of 100.  

The concept of Whitelines as described from their website is intriguing.
                   Picture comparing drawings on a Whitelines® paper and a ordinary paper

The curve to the far left shows a Whitelines® paper before the notes from a pen; a lot of light colour (the background) and a small amount of white (the supporting lines). With marks from a pen the curve gets a fresh new peak in the dark area without any visual interference.
Whitelines® paper is toned which means that strong light doesn’t gleam in your eyes when it gets reflected in the paper as ordinary paper does.

The conventional paper has a peak in the dark area (the supporting lines) even before your notes. When using a pen the interference between the supporting line and the pen mark is obvious, they compete about your attention in the same visual space.

Whitelines® is the new generation of writing paper. The concept is patented and yet very simple: Since markings from pens are dark they interfere with the traditional dark lines of ordinary paper. On Whitelines® there is no visual interference between the lines and the pen colour. Whitelines® makes your writing and sketches stand out.


Vintage Image of the day: Muscle car! 4/18/12

 All I can say is...


From a magazine, can't remember which one


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What's at my bedside?

It's odd, the things I need within arms reach so I can relax and go to sleep.

  1. My favorite drinking glass, a thrifted, huge, Luminarc Jelly Jar
  2. My A5 Malden Filofax
  3. Seche Vite
  4. A jar of buttons
  5. The small container from Flash Chill Ice Tea system
  6. Atomic Aqua Plastic container, the small one labeled 'tea' from a thrifted set.  I keep Ventura's teeny cheese star cookies in there.  


Today's vintage image: Mad Hatters, April 16, 2012...

I love finding DIY projects in old magazines because some of them are amazing.  The things people used to do routinely was impressive; cut an old table up to make shelves...  Build a chaise lounge....  

  That said, not all were classics.  

In a nod to Not-Classics-Project I give you editorial staff desperation and an art department who had a Too-many martini lunch. 

 It's the only explanation for these hats.

Don't even know what to say about these hats.

Can't decide which one is my favorite.

Might be the chicken hat made from sponges...

Or this one Made from a feather dusting "flying high and handsome"

Oh my stars, these are crazy.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Lord Dodo's Nibs...

 A brain, okay my brain, can process just so much visual information; after that I don't see it.  (That is precisely why clutter accumulates  in piles on stair steps  and remains untouched for months.)

And it's why I add so much falala to my to-do lists.  I use a week on two page calendar with to-do sheets interleaved between them.

Without all that color my brain looks at the long lists and translates it into... Blah, blah, snore.

  With the color I am able to really see what I wrote.

There is a reason for this.  Brains are wired to filter out unimportant details, they have too. Without this filter you'd be a frantic crow in a world stuffed-to-busting with shiny things.

 Color-coding tasks makes them stand out. Color is lots of fun but it's not all about making a party in my Filofax, color makes things accessible to my brain. 

And color, is one of the things I love about Lord Dodo inserts.  I think my A5 Malden Filofax looks DoDodazzling  with the pen-friendly Dodo Pad A5 Diary Refill (2012 is half price now if you want to give a DoDo a whirl)

 I've been using these cheeky monkeys for a few weeks now.

BeFunky Viewfinder 4 on iPhone

I use them the same way I used the Filofax Weekly Insert, I put single appointments on them and run to-do sheets in between for everything else. 

BeFunky Viewfinder 4 on iPhone

The left page has writing space  I use for  shopping lists.  It's a running weekly list and I cross things off as I get them.  

BeFunky Viewfinder 5 on iPhone

On the dated side I put appointments, as always, but added something new.  I forget a lot of routine household tasks most people do automatically. Weeks go by before I remember to dust, wash the kitchen floor, or wonder what the underside of the toilet seat looks like.

And don't even get me started on laundry...

Now I write these things on the dated side.  Nothing overwhelming, just a few general things I want to accomplish and when.  I thought about what days would work best  and wrote them in; so far so good.  If something changes, I'll change it around.  

I love the color on the pages (the light to medium shades work best for the way I use it, as a coloring book) and the paper is very pen friendly.  The only ones that show through the backside at all are broad nib fountain pens (with wet inks) and markers like Sharpies.  

And Sharpies go through everything; they are more solvent then ink and have a dramatic wetting effect on paper.

The inserts have been a real success and I'll continue using them.  I love that the designs change weekly.  Not only is it fun but keeping things fresh and new in my mind helps.  Like I said, the longer I see the same old thing, the less likely it is that I'll notice it at all.  

The one part that was challenging for me was the DoDo year view.  Filofax has an insert I like and  order every year to use no matter the binder; I even tape it in if the binder is ring-less.  

Its great for a quick scan of the situation and as a long term planner; I block out vacations, doctor's appointments, put in lab work values, pay dates, and for tracking things like symptoms, migraines... etc.

There isn't a lot of space to write but the way I use it, I don't need it.

The year view in Lord Dodo inserts is harder for me to work with.  I like (really like) that this is part of the year's inserts (with Filofax it's a separate purchase) but the date spaces are even smaller.  

Here is a comparison.

BeFunky OrtonArt on iPhone

Next is a close up of how small they are compared to a pen.  The picture also illustrates my other issue with them; the holidays are written in, leaving no space at all.

BeFunky Viewfinder 4 on iPhone

As you can see (first picture) I tabbed over some of the writing and wrote on the tabs.  Other possible options (as a revamp) could be spreading the year view to four pages leaving room for bigger lines, leaving out the on-calendar holidays or printing them in a light color so you can see the information but write over it, or spreading the year view to three pages with the holidays on a forth page.  

These inserts were harder for me to incorporate.   I need these spaces to be clear for notes.  I can work with them being small, usually there is only one thing (if that) per date, but they all have to be accessible.  With the holidays written in, it takes a lot of days away.

In conclusion, I liked using them.  I like 'em a lot.  They are a breath of fresh air and the week per page for dates and general tasks is perfect.  I've known for a while I didn't need the week on two pages.  Plus, the left hand side it's given me space for a running grocery list, which was very much needed and a way to organize household tasks easily.

Dodo inserts  get  whopping  NIB SCORE of 95 out of 100.  Nibs, as you well know, are the universal measurement for Planner inserts. Those are theoretical  nibs, of course,  I don't even own the enough nibbage for Lord Dodo.  Okay, that sounds wrong...

They are fun and easy to use, take a variety of inks very well and easily accommodate to your own unique way of planning.  

If you have a second, say to Lord Dodo on Twitter or Facebook.  It's lonely being royal and he'd be Dodelighted!

*Lord Dodo provided me with the samples for review.*


Today's vintage image: Housekeeping, April 15, 2012

The 50's; when we all made dinner in heels...

Peep-toe baby blue high ones...

Is it wrong to admit I love those shoes?


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Who won the JetPens stuff?

First, if you didn't get what you wanted, I'm doing this again in about a month so come back and try again.

Okay guys, I went over everything and picked the stuff we wanted!  Some things were sold out when I placed my order, some things I had, some stuff I didn't get for myself - Just you!   

I only had so much to spend and still managed to go over budget. That's life in the JetPens lane, I'm afraid.  

Office supply lust is a cruel mistress...

Amy, the set was sold out but I ordered you a Frixon in violet because I've wanted to try these too.

Terri, Got you the Midori Memorandum Card in brown (and one in white for me).


The rabbit stickers too, because you said they would make you smile and anyone who love greyhounds deserves to smile.  I have the parakeet stickers like this and they  do make one smile!

Anita, I got you the Uni-ball Signo Sparkling Glitter Gel Ink Pen because I have it  and in the right light it's a glittery sight to behold!

HM, I got you the Nichiban Word Play Children's Tape - Animal Series - Blue - 1I 8 mm X 5 m - Dispenser + 2 Tape Rolls Seals Tape because it's too cute for words!  I didn't get one for me because I was already over budget!

Doan Rose - I got you (and me) the PINK! Uni-ball Power Tank Smart Series Ballpoint Pen because sometimes you just need a good ball point pen and pink goes perfectly with my Barbie checks! 

And I got one thing for me that one asked for because with all this looking around I found something I couldn't resist.  This Kuretake Waterbrush Pen.

I already have the Kuretake No. 13 Fountain Hair Brush Pen and it's so much fun for Sumi-e brush painting.  I just got the converter a few weeks ago but I thought the one you fill with water would be great for watercolors.

Beautiful, isn't it?

Okay, I need mailing addresses so when it all comes I can send things out!   Please contact me by Tuesday April 24...   I'm not going to nag!  After that, I will re-give them away!

Click the envelope below for a link to my email.


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